Minister Martin meets Adi Roche to discuss Belarus
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Michaél Martin T.D. this morning met with Adi Roche, Chief Executive Officer of Chernobyl Children’s Project International (CCPI) to discuss the recent suspension of visits by children from Belarus travelling outside their country.
Minister Martin briefed Ms Roche thoroughly on the contacts between the relevant Irish and Belarusian authorities and expressed his confidence that this situation will be resolved speedily and satisfactorily.
Speaking after the meeting the Minister said:
"I am delighted to meet with Adi and to hear at first hand her concerns about recent statements by the Government of Belarus with regard to children travelling outside of their state. I have long been a great admirer of Adi and her organisation and am delighted that they have recently received 3 year funding totalling €600,000 from my Department to support their wonderful work in Belarus.
I have asked our ambassador to Belarus, who is based in Moscow, to travel to Minsk tomorrow to convey my satisfaction with the traditional, longstanding cooperation with the Belarusian Authorities on the children’s visits to Ireland. I believe also that the Belarusian Authorities are equally satisfied. However, if they feel that a more formal arrangement is required, I would be happy to enter into discussions with them for this purpose at an early date. This will involve close co-operation with the Departments of Health, Justice and the Minister for Children and initial work has already begun to deal with the necessarily complicated legal issues that such an agreement would have to cover, should the need arise.
I hope to speak with my Belarusian counterpart at the earliest opportunity and have also invited the Belarusian Chargé d’Affaires, who is based in London, to travel to Dublin next Thursday and he has agreed to do so.
I know this issue has caused upset and worry to the many Irish
families who have been involved with this work over the past 17
years. I want to assure them that I will do everything I can to
ensure that the no disruption is caused to a project which does
great credit to this charity and to Ireland and whose roots are
founded in the great Irish traditions of welcome and
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